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Zu Warriors From The Magic Mountain
cast: Yuen Biao, Adam Cheng, Brigitte Lin, Moon Lee, and Sammo Hung

director: Tsui Hark

95 minutes (12) 1981
widescreen ratio 16:9
Hong Kong Legends DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Debbie Moon
Fifth century China, convulsed by civil war: a soldier tired of pointless squabbling deserts, and is saved from malevolent ghosts by a mysterious kung fu master, one of several on the trail of a powerful Blood Demon. This is his chance to do real good - but when the demon possesses one of the masters, internal squabbles threaten to destroy their mission. With the older generation paralysed by rivalry, it's down to the soldier, an incompetent apprentice, and a warrior princess to save the world. Along the way, we get a tragic love story, lots of fighting, an vicious cult called the Evil Disciples (they must have thought long and hard about that), and, believe it or not, a warrior who subdues his enemies with his extending eyebrows...
   This is a terrific madcap adventure story, boasting humour, exciting action scenes and, for a kung fu fantasy, a reasonably logical story. The performances are powerful and physically impressive. The special effects are admittedly cheap, but a lot of imagination has gone into them, and overall, the visuals have a theatrical grandeur that more than compensates.
   The tone is light; the action moves at a frantic pace, and the story even boasts a few surprises. Ideal entertainment for fantasy lovers, Star Wars fans with intellectual leanings, or for anyone (like me) who feels they'd enjoy kung fu films if only they made a bit more sense.
   DVD extras include interviews, two trailers, and fascinatingly, scenes created for the international version, Zu: Time Warriors, which framed the original story as a coma-induced delusion suffered by a modern-day fencing champion. It's hard to believe they found a way to make this story even more bizarre, but they did...